Singapore Travel Guide
Welcome to our 3 day tour of Singapore, Singapore in Asia. We hope you enjoy traveling with us and are inspired to take your own trip. This trip was part of our seven month journey around the world which began in Flores, Guatemala. See a summary of the destinations we traveled to over our seven months here: link.
After a less than 3 hour flight from Ubud, Bali (Indonesia) to Singapore, we were excited to explore this Utopia.
Why Travel to Singapore, Singapore ?
Singapore is a cosmopolitan city-state island that boasts a vibrant nightlife and is a foodie’s dream destination. Singapore’s year-round tropical climate makes anytime a good time to visit. With eclectic architecture around every corner, you will be in awe. The island is a utopia of sprawling gardens, giant living artificial trees, bridges, well designed buildings, and any type of food your heart desires. If you can dream it, Singapore will provide.
How Long to Stay in Singapore, Singapore ?
The highlights of our trip were visiting the Gardens by the Bay, visiting the various bio-domes, and enjoying the architecture and beauty of the city. This certainly can be accomplished in a couple days. We thinks it’s important to see everything at day and night so adding another day, would be helpful to really enjoy it. With an extra day you can squeeze in more activities such as the botanical gardens or a day trip to Sentosa island. Add more days for more activities or to be able to go at a very relaxed pace.
Top Things to Do in Singapore, Singapore
1) Visit Gardens by the Bay
The Gardens by the Bay is an immense system of gardens that contain more than 1.5 millions plants and consist of three waterfront gardens, The Supertree Grove, The Cloud Forest, and The Flower Dome. While the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome have admission fees, the Supetree Grove and surrounding gardens are free to enter. You can easily spend hours walking around the Supetree Grove and other themed gardens for free.
The Gardens do receive millions of visitors a year, so come early to try and avoid the crowds.
Supertree Grove and surrounding gardens
The Supertree Grove is highlighted by 18 “Supertrees” wrapped with hundreds of species of tropical plants, ferns, and orchids. These artificial trees are the iconic giants of Singapore towering at heights between 80 to 160 feet and are a must-see during the day and especially at night. It is free to walk the grounds even for the night show.
Skyway Walk Admission: Adult: $8; Child: $5
The Grove has a magical night time Garden Rhapsody Show that displays lights and musical soundtracks.
The fantastical light show performs daily at 7:45 – 8:45 pm.
Every month is a new soundtrack, check out the up-to date line-up here.
Be sure to walk the surrounding areas and gardens around the Grove for more beautiful flowers, tress, statues, and backdrops. Themed gardens include the Chinese Garden and the Indian Garden for example. You can easily spend hours walking around these free gardens. Here is a collection of photos from our walk around the gardens:
2) Enjoy the Cloud Forest
This man-made misty bio-dome contains an 115 foot tall mountain of diverse vegetation and flora. The plants are strategically placed to allow them to flourish harmoniously, at it would in nature, and creates a stunning sight to behold.
As of the date of this article, the admission price to the Cloud Forest is $20 (adults) and $12 (children) or you can pay $28 (adult) and $15 (children) for admission to both the Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome.
You can even stroll around in the tree tops thanks to the elevated bridge-ways intertwined with the mountain.
3) Visit the Flower Dome
The Flower Dome is the largest glass greenhouse in the world. How big you ask? It is about the size of 2.2 football fields put together. The exhibits are some of the most innovative we have ever seen and include exotic plans from five continents spread out through nine unique Gardens.
As of the date of this article, the admission price to the Flower Dome is $20 (adults) and $12 (children) or you can pay $28 (adult) and $15 (children) for admission to both the Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome.
4) Visit the Marina Bay Sands and Shoppes
This iconic 5-star hotel has the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool, with extraordinary views of Singapore’s city skyline and the “Gardens by the Bay”. No doubt, you’ll enjoy views of the Marina Bay Sands from various points throughout the City, but a visit inside is well worth it. The lobby is beautiful and a visit to the pool offers tremendous views. You’ll have to be able to a guest to enter the pool area or you can also pay to go to the observation deck. We were able to get up to the pool area and have a look around but were unable to enter as we were not staying at the hotel. Under the Marina Bay Sands is also the expansive Marina Bay Shoppes shopping complex which is huge and well worth the walk-through even if you are not shopping. It’s so big, there is even a small man-made river running through it.
5) Explore the City by Bike, Scooter, or Walking
The cheapest and possibly best way to get around and see the city is to rent a bike or scooter. We somehow were able to get an outrageous deal with Ofo for $2 USD for both of us for a month. As of the date of this article, it doesn’t seem Ofo is still operating in Singapore, but we imagine other bike rental companies have replaced them. The bikes came with an electronic lock that allowed you to hop-on and hop-off as desired. We found it easy to find bikes around the hot-spots.
While you can easily walk around the Gardens by the Bay and the Marina Bay Shoppes areas there are other areas of the city that we were happy to explore by bike rather than by foot. Here are various pictures of places we enjoyed around the city:
Check out the Bridges of Singapore
The Helix bridge replicates the human DNA structure and is lit up at night in bright colors.
Search for the Merlion Statues
Singapore is known as the “Lion City”, with the Merlion (head of a lion, body of a fish) being their mascot. There are several Merlions scattered throughout the city, the original being in Merlion Park, which has the best views around.
Collection of other interesting buildings and sights
6) Clarke Quay
A historical quay, located along the Singapore River, full of shopping, dining, museums, parks and many activities. You can find something for everyone at Clarke Quay. Even a fun trampoline activity if you are “up” for it.
7) Visit the Artscience Museum
The ArtScience museum is housed inside this giant white mitt. The white pillars are actually a symbol of “the welcoming hand of Singapore” and display different galleries/themes within each pillar, or finger.
At the time of this article, the “Painting with Light” exhibit was free to visit and the “Future World” and “Star Wars Identities” exhibits cost $19 $SGD and $32 $SGD, respectively (about $14 USD and $24 USD).
8) Visit a Hawker Center
A Hawker in this instance, is basically a cheap easily transportable restaurant vendor. Back in 2014 when Kurt visited Singapore on his own (I know right, how could he), he stopped at Maxwell Food Centre, a well-known hawker center in China town known for their chicken rice. He doesn’t recall it being anything amazing, but pretty sure people go to these things to pig out on inexpensive food. After a couple meals in downtown city center of Singapore I can understand why people flock to the cheaper food stalls.
9) Singapore Botanical Gardens
If you aren’t sick of gardens yet, then you can include the botanical gardens on your list. This 160+ year old tropical garden, is the only tropical botanical garden listed as a World Unesco Site.
The gardens are free to enter, however there is an admission fee of $5 SGD (<$4 USD) to enter the orchid garden – the parks crown jewel. You can enjoy walking the grounds in about an hour or two. You can reach the botanical gardens via the MRT/LRT light rail system.
10) Night Safari
Explore the world’s first nocturnal zoo. Start by taking a guided tram ride at night through the forest where you have the chance to see animals ranging from Malayan tigers to Hippos and Leopards. The animals aren’t kept in cages like a typical zoo, however they still are kept captive by more natural surroundings i.e rock walls and moats. Activities include the tram ride, zoned walks, a creature of the nights show, and fire dance shows.
At ~30 minutes away from downtown Singapore, we chose to take an uber to get here. Park admission for adults is $53 SGD ($40 USD) as of the date of this article.
If you are lucky, the “Creatures of the Night” show will be interactive. We saw nocturnal animals ranging from Hyenas to Binturans (a bearcat local to Asia). One of our favorites was when the the Arctic Fox came out, with his lovely white fur.
Singapore 101: You can use Uber in Singapore to get around; we did after the safari to get back to our hotel.
11) S.E.A. Aquarium
This aquarium is located on Sentosa Island, about a 20 minute drive from downtown Singapore. Here your can see more than 100,000 marine animals of over 1,000 species. There are many exhibits including a moving escalator that transports you through an underwater tunnel.
Where to Stay in Singapore, Singapore
Marina Bay Sands
If you want a fancy, but overpriced stay, then you can stay at this 5-star resort with rates nearing $300/night on average. You’re ultimately paying for the rooftop infinity view and location as a standard room is nothing special. During Kurt’s solo trip in 2014 he stayed here, but we just couldn’t justify the price this time.
Holiday Inn Express
After a long volcano hike and lots of walking at our last destination, in Bali, we decided to treat ourselves to a “nicer” hotel than we had been on our trip. This 3-star hotel was only a 15-minute walk to the main downtown center of Singapore.
Where to Eat in Singapore, Singapore
We could not believe we got so lucky and found this vegan gem underground at Clarke Quay Central. They offer some of the best vegan burgers we have ever tasted. I am literally salivated as I’m writing this.
Located in The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands is this delicious boba tea (tapioca pearl tea) shop, a very common Asian beverage. We cooled off between our hot and sweaty bike rides and came here almost everyday.
Other Recommendations of Things to Do
These are all adventures that we unfortunately didn’t have time to do on our own but would have considered if we had more time:
- Sentosa (10-20 minutes from the heartland of Singapore): A popular island located off the southern coast of Singapore that contains Asia’s largest observatory and an amusement park – Universal Studios. There are many modes of transportation to you can take to get to the island; scenic Cable Car to get into the island, walk, bike or Uber. The island boasts many beaches, bars and restaurants, many come here to play. (Kurt did visit the S.E.A aquarium on Sentosa island on his trip back in 2014).
- Buddha Tooth Relic Temple (in Chinatown~ 5 minute drive from the centre of Singapore): On Kurt’s solo trip he took a picture of the building when he was at the hawker center in Chinatown. It doubles as a temple and a museum, featuring perhaps one of its most prominent relics (as you can guess from the title)- Buddha’s tooth.
- Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay (in the town centre): It would have been nice to see a performance in the music hall or theatre.
- Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (26 minute drive North): Walk the diverse nature reserve full of flora and fauna which is home to native inhabitants such as the otter and crocodile. The mangroves are a site of importance for the not only the animals but also the locals. The trail is a maintained boardwalk and easy to navigate.
- Sri Mariamman Temple – (in Chinatown): The temple is Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple. It is worth a visit to observe and appreciate its ornate designs and sculptures.
Questions For You
- What is your favorite food you have had in Singapore?